Answers to boater card questions, ice beginning to form on alpine lakes for ice fishing season

Photo Credit: Carson Now

by Doug Busey

Hello fellow anglers. A very Merry Fishmas and Happy Holidays to all. The weather is changing and keeping a few anglers inside. But if you read this report, you might get your gear out and head out between our weather makers.Before i get to your report. I would like to thank a few anglers that weighed in on my last report. Mainly in regards to the California Boaters card. First, a mariner or commercial fisherman does not need to have a CA boaters card. This is true, because they are required to take the US Coast Guard safety course to obtain their license.  A person operating a rental vessel, This is true. A person operating a vessel while under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older who is in possession of a California Boater Card, true. A person from another state operating for less than 60 days and meets boating requirements . Parks Answer; a person is exempt from needing to carry the California Boater Card if they are a resident of a state other than California who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 60 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his/her state. And If a person was in a contest of racing a boat, pwc or sailboat.  Parks A: Per Harbors and Navigation Code 678.11, A person operating a vessel in an organized regatta or vessel race, or water ski race is exempt from needing to carry the California Boater Card. As it relates to the last question, Harbors and Navigation Code 678 does not give a reason for why a person racing a boat does not need to carry. Just to let you know, I hear your concerns and questions. So I reached out and communicated directly with Kristi Jones from the California Parks Department  to answer your questions. The original report was written with information I received from the CDFW, which I found did not include all the facts about the CA boaters Card, which actually came from the Parks Dept. But being real about it. Why would you try to find excuses for not considering taking a boaters safety course. Its free and educational. Plus, it saves lives. I know I will be proud to show my new CA boaters Card when asked, even though it was not a requirement for me to do so.Now for your brief report on what is going on in our local area.

CAPLES LAKE: The Caples Lake Resort is scheduled to open on December 26th for lodging. The dining room is TBD, they are shooting for mid to late January. The lake has not yet started to freeze over.  But has started to get a little ice around the edges. Please stay off the ice until we have a confirmation of 6 to 8 inches of ice.

RED LAKE:  The ice has formed and there have been some people out ice skating. I have not confirmed how thick the ice is as of this date. I would use extreme caution when venturing out on any frozen body of water. The edges form first and extend outward. Simple meaning, the ice is thinner the farther out you go.


INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Both roads were open to the lake. Use cation on either you take. One becomes slippery with snow and ice, whereas the other one becomes slippery and muddy. Anglers have done good to fair  using inflated/scented nightcrawlers. Some have done well with powerbait by the dam area. The campground is closed.

EAST FORK CARSON RIVER ALPINE COUNTY: The river is running clear and low. Reminder, catch and release with artificial lures or flys only until the last Saturday in April 2024. This week the Alpine County Fish Commision planted the river with 1200 lbs of 2 to 5 lb rainbow trout. For more information stop by the Carson River Resort or the Creekside Inn.

TOPAZ LAKE: The lake level is still up and the water is mostly clear. I fished this week for a few hours and ran into a little green slime on the North end. Nothing to mess up your line or get stuck in your prop.  I fished from 9am to about 130pm. I boated 9 catchable rainbows and kept one in the 3 lb range. Most of those fish were caught in an hour and a half. You definitely have to do some traveling. I found two out of the six areas I fished, produced. I was using 25 feet of mono with lead core line, followed by an F-5  black/gold Rapala. I recommend changing patterns until you find what they are hitting on. I have also had good luck in the deeper waters with a J-9 fire tiger pattern. The NDOW planted 900 lbs of catchable rainbow trout in the lake this week, the day after I fished it.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. I hope to see you on the waters soon. In January I will be looking forward to seeing you on Red Lake doing a little ice fishing. If we do not get ten feet of snow this year If you get a photo of your catch, send it to [email protected]. Good fishin' and tight lines.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you have a question. a report in our local fishing area or have a photo of your catch, send it to [email protected]. Hope to see you on the waters. Good fishin' and tight lines.

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